Counties Manukau CIO more confident register on track

Counties Manukau DHB CIO Phil Brimacombe is now more confident the national immunisation register will go to plan, in contrast to the warnings he made in the DHB's IS report last year.

Counties Manukau DHB CIO Phil Brimacombe is now more confident the national immunisation register will go to plan, in contrast to the warnings he made in the DHB’s IS report last year.

In the August report he noted that with the health ministry “now contracting directly with Orion Systems for NIR IT development, [a] risk is that key DHB IS/business collaboration will be omitted, resulting in a system unsatisfactory to DHBs”.

The next month, he softened these remarks by noting that “the risk of exclusion of DHB input to the NIR has been mitigated to some extent by a direct arrangement between Orion and [the DHB’s] IS strategic projects team”.

He added, however, that “there are delays to the ministry contract with Orion for NIR, which in turn is delaying the conclusion of a formal arrangement between Orion and the strategic projects team”.

Brimacombe says since he made those comments, “things have changed”.

Counties Manukau DHB was engaged in the early stages to help with requirements and deliver proof of concept, he says. Since then, there has been a lot more development, with the ministry running the project and the meningococcal B vaccination project.

The shift from a DHB-ministry collaboration to a ministry-only project was a big change, he says.

“At the beginning, the ministry had two contracts with the DHB, one on the business side to deliver the NIR, the other for IS to manage the development of a system.”

The ministry had a contract with the DHB’s IS department for the latter to manage the development of the software and the IS department had a contract with Orion.

“At some point subsequently, the decision was made by the ministry to have a direct contract with Orion and the DHB stepped out of the loop but stayed in the project. At one time there was a concern that the IS business knowledge we brought to the project may not be contributed.”

However, “since then, the project has changed so much, to being far more driven to deliver the meningococcal B vaccinations and the DHB has been involved at a business level, not an IS one. I’m less concerned than I was when I wrote those comments.”

He says it’s fair to say the NIR is being delivered a lot later than originally envisaged.

“In 2002, when we were contracted to deliver proof of concept in July 2002, the plan was for NIR to be at the first DHB by December 2002.”

And he still believes the timing of the NIR and meningococcal B programme is tight.

“No one has used the NIR yet, but meningococcal B will be rolled out in approximately six months’ time. The timing is tight, but it’s an amazingly complex project. It’s quite a task to come up with a procedure to identify all children.”

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